President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion to African nations at Monday’s opening of a China-Africa forum on cooperation, matching the size of funds offered at the last summit in Johannesburg in 2015.
A wave of African nations seeking to restructure their debt with China has served as a reality check for Beijing’s ties with the continent, though most of its countries still see Chinese lending as the best bet to develop their economies.
“If we take a closer look at these African countries that are heavily in debt, China is not their main creditor,” its special envoy for Africa, Xu Jinghu, told a news conference.
“It’s senseless and baseless to shift the blame onto China for debt problems.”
As it pushes forward with Xi’s pledge, China will use feasibility studies to select projects that help African countries achieve sustainable development and steer clear of debt or financial woes, she added.
“We need to take into account the fluctuations of the international economic situation, which has raised the cost of financing for these African countries, and most of them depend on exporting raw materials, the price of which, on the international market, has been falling,” said Xu, adding that the overall debt burden had built up over a long time.
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